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Moscow Airport Transfer
Title: How to transfer from Moscow's SVO 2 to SVO 1
Post by: Muckraker on June 16, 2006, 07:44:50 PM
Traveling through Moscow involves changing terminals (although in reality they are different airports). You will arrive at Sheremetyevo 2, and then you will need to catch your connection to other points from Sheremetyevo 1, which is located several kilometers away (about a ten minute drive by car). The process for making this transfer is explained below.

There are two hotels located at SVO2; Hotel Novotel (which is more expensive) and the Sheremetyevo Transit Hotel. There is a regular shuttle that will take you from the SVO 2 terminal building to Novotel at no charge. The shuttle will also transfer you to SVO 1 the next morning to catch your ongoing flight (you can also call the hotel to have the shuttle pick you up at SVO 1 on your return flight).

Many simply walk to the Sheremetyevo Transit Hotel from the SVO 2 terminal building, about a quarter mile away. Proceed down the sidewalk all the way to the right of the terminal building (as you are walking away from the terminal building) or on the left of the terminal building (if you are facing the terminal building).

Transfer from SVO 2 (international flight terminal) to SVO 1 (domestic flight terminal).
When you arrive in Moscow at SVO2, you will exit the plane and board a bus waiting on the tarmac that will take you to the terminal building. Notice that if you are last on the bus (which includes being stuffed-in like a sardine), you will be the first to get off and head to the passport control. Normally, getting through passport control should take less than half of an hour. However, if you get stuck behind a lot of passengers, or if another plane’s passengers are ahead of you (even if they landed after you because they “sneaked" and "shuffled” their way into the line ahead of you) then it can take up to two hours to get through passport control. If you are in danger of missing your flight, take the line all the way to the left – for diplomats.

Once through passport control (the official will check your visa and stamp your passport and the migration card that you filled out on the airplane) you will proceed directly forward to get your luggage. If you were told that your luggage would be checked through to SVO1, do not believe it. You must get your luggage and proceed through customs.

If you can’t find your luggage, you should first wait for a while and it may mysteriously appear. Otherwise, there is a freestanding desk there where you can report your luggage missing. Be sure to look around for your luggage as well. Just because it isn’t on the luggage carousel doesn’t mean it is lost. It can simply just be sitting somewhere.

After you pick up your luggage, you will have to proceed through customs. There is a red line and a green line. The green line is for people who have nothing to declare consequently the line is much longer. However, if you are in a hurry to catch your connecting flight, you can go through the red line. Just smile and show them the customs form you filled out on the plane and they will probably just x-ray your bags and wave you through.

Once through customs you will emerge into the terminal building where a dozen taxi drivers will accost you. They will want $60 to drive you down the street to SVO 1. They will show you all kinds of propaganda to convince you that this is the going rate. They will tell you that all the buses are broken, and that using some other method is not safe. If you are in a hurry to get to SVO 1 because you are in danger of missing your flight, grab one of these guys and head out the front door to the curb and the waiting cab. Once you pay him, he will have one of his drivers get you over there very quickly (these guys are not the actual drivers).

However, if you have plenty of time, there are other options. First is the Aeroflot shuttle. If you look for the airline ticket windows (walk across the terminal floor looking to your left about 200 feet) you may see a sign in English that says “Free Shuttle” at the Aeroflot Transfer Office. If you show them your airline ticket, they should give you a bus ticket and hopefully they can tell you when and where the shuttle will be located. You can exit the terminal from the nearest door and look outside for the shuttle. This would be the best method if you can swing it.

Otherwise, you can exit the terminal and head for the commercial buses (actually minivans) located in the parking lot (once you pass through all the waiting taxis). You will want to find a bus that has the sign “Sheremetyevo 1” attached to it (it will look like this: Шереметьево 1). You can also ask the driver “Sheremetyevo Adeen?” or write the name on a piece of paper. The price is about ten rubles. However, if you have a lot of luggage, this method can be very inconvenient as the buses are very small and very crowded.

If a taxi is your the best option for you, you can at least negotiate the price by standing at the bus stop and saying “Nyet... aftoboos…..mmmm....Skolka?” to the taxi men who approach you to get the price down to about $10-$20.

However you get to SVO 1’s departure terminal building, when you get there, you should first head for the overhead sign that shows all the flight information. It is located at approximately the middle of the building, directly in front of the security entrance for the baggage check and gate area. The letters change from Russian to English every minute or so, so don’t worry if you can’t read it right away. Look for your flight number/destination and make sure everything is fine. Don’t go through the security area to the baggage check until the flight sign says it is time (the letters change color and start flashing). This will happen about an hour before the take off time. If you go through too early the security ladies will send you back. The departure terminal has a cafe, bar, kiosks, and places to sit. There is no problem finding a place to buy bottled water or a bottled soft drink to take with you on the plane as well. If you need to buy flowers to have with you when you arrive to your destination, you will have to walk outside (with your luggage) and over to the arrival portion of the SVO 1 building (just a few hundred feet over).

Once the sign tells you it is time (about an hour before your flight) you simply show your passport and ticket to the baggage check area security ladies, send your bags through the security x-ray treadmill, walk through the metal detector, and proceed to the correct ticket counter lady. There should be a rudimentary sign posted on the wall behind the ticket counter lady indicating your flight (and the correct line for you), but it is likely that the correct ticket counter lady will be the one they send you to after you went to the wrong ticket counter lady. Once your bag is checked (be very careful to keep your baggage ticket – you will need to this get your bags when you land) you can head over to the gate area and hopefully find a seat close to the gate. There is also a bar and seating area upstairs, if you feel that you have the time to spend there before boarding.

Eventually, you will notice everyone is rushing the gate. This is when you join them. You will show your boarding pass to the attendant, and proceed outside onto the bus and drive to the airplane. Sometimes the first bus is much too crowded so you can wait for the second bus trip after it comes back (but don’t expect there to be any room in the overhead storage bins on the plane anymore). A line will form at the foot of the stairs leading up to the plane. When it is your turn, with the plane’s engines ringing in your ears, the flight attendant will permit you to go up the stairs and inside the plane.

Title: Re: How to transfer from Moscow's SVO 2 to SVO 1
Post by: Ste on June 17, 2006, 06:11:04 AM
Perfect Mucker!

I get frustrated by people talking about this mysterious subway under the runways between the terminals. It either doesn't exist or is for Gov types only!

Maybe you should add the fact you're searched quite comprehensively almost as soon as you get in the door at Terminal 1, I nearly had to strip naked - bit of metal somewhere!

Oh, and mention the 'passport checks' every so often by bored militsa or airport police, not sure who they are.

Oh again, emphasis that your baggage never follows you even if you are Aeroflot all the way through, the lied to me on this - they don't transfer your baggage!

Good work mate!


Title: Re: How to transfer from Moscow's SVO 2 to SVO 1
Post by: jb on June 17, 2006, 12:01:39 PM
I'm going to go ahead and set this topic as a *sticky*, I've had several PMs which indicate we prolly won't get much better than what Muckraker has given us.

Well done, Muckraker, thank you for a job well done.

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